PeopleSoft prepares for questions at Connect show

NEW YORK (09/20/2004) – PeopleSoft Inc. will kick off its Connect user show on Tuesday determined to focus attendees’ attention on its progress in the past year and product plans for the coming one — and away from the Jaws-like specter of Oracle Corp.

PeopleSoft expects a record crowd of 14,000 in San Francisco this year, several thousand attendees more than at last year’s conference in Anaheim, Calif. The gain reflects both PeopleSoft’s expanded customer base, thanks to its J.D. Edwards & Co. acquisition, and a response to the large question mark Oracle has successfully planted in the minds of PeopleSoft customers about the company’s future.

A number of attendees at last year’s show said they came to hear about PeopleSoft’s plans for fending off Oracle’s US$7.7 billion takeover bid; now, with Oracle’s 15-month campaign gaining strength instead of fading, the topic will once again be a prominent one.

Still, company executives say their focus at the show will be on their activities, not Oracle’s. PeopleSoft Chief Executive Officer Craig Conway plans to use his keynote address to discuss PeopleSoft’s progress integrating J.D. Edwards’ software and operations into its own, while PeopleSoft Chief Technology Officer Rick Bergquist will talk about the “Total Ownership Experience” (TOE) initiative PeopleSoft launched last year. The TOE strategy is to focus the company’s development work on reducing the administrative costs and burdens of using its software.

PeopleSoft also plans to preview its forthcoming Human Capital Management 8.9 update, which will add several hundred tweaks and new features to PeopleSoft’s core human resources software. For the first time, the software will let managers track temporary employees and contractors — a feat that could previously only be done with workarounds and other ad-hoc solutions, Bergquist said.

The update also includes more detailed absence-tracking functionality, to record such information as which employees are assigned to handle the duties of an absent co-worker, along with extended features for recording employee skills. For its customers in unionized industries, PeopleSoft has added a system for gathering union-related information such as employees’ seniority and anticipated pay-scale increases.

PeopleSoft’s HCM 8.9 update is scheduled for early 2005. Other updates to its Enterprise line will follow in 2005’s second quarter. In the EnterpriseOne line of software it picked up from J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft is preparing an update intended for release toward the end of this year.

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